The eternal search for hills

Being a South West London resident I can run for miles in any direction and encounter barely 10ft of elevation, literally miles. The closest thing that even resembles a hill is roughly 3 miles away (the small bump at Ham Gate up to the main road in Richmond Park). I have always secretly considered this a big hill…

Normally this wouldn’t bother me, as the old saying goes ‘mo hills, mo problems’. But in just over 8 weeks I need to run a race with a ton of hills, if you look at the elevation profile of the SDW50 it’s looks like a racing heartbeat on an ECG. Which ironically is exactly what my heart will be doing when I attempt to run up them. Over those 50 miles there’s nearly 5000ft of up and down.

Sadly I can’t go round them, so I’m just going to have to get better at going up them.

So without further ado, let me present you with: The Polly Farrington Guide to Getting Better at Running Up Hills So As Not to Die on the SDW aka the PFGTGBARUHSANTDOTSDW

1. Start by attempting to run up every hill in Richmond Park, the hilliest place in a 10 mile radius

Still not enough? Of course not its like 350ft

2. Attempt to run up every hill in Richmond Park plus Wimbledon Common

650 ft. Hmm.

New plan.

3. Enlist Dream Team member and all round top notch guy Simon Lamb to come on your next big run and help out. He will stand at the top of each hill and shout ‘AND AGAIN’ every time you get to the top. Very effective. 1350ft!

4. Simon not available? Get on the train and go visit some proper hills.

This weekend I finally got down onto the SDW itself. Alex and I hiked the 16 miles from Hassocks to Southease. (Which is a brilliant route if there are any keen walkers reading this). You can pick up the SDW about 2 miles from Hassocks station, be warned though its at the top of the hill in the below picture:


Then its just 16 miles of beautiful rolling hills to Southease where the path conveniently goes right through the middle of the station. Perfect exit point.


Hassock’s famous windmills. First shown to me by Windmill expert Rich Mitchelson of Homeward Round fame.







I’ve still got another 34 miles of the downs to recce, so if you fancy getting involved let me know.


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